By Burnet Mayor Crista Bromley and City Manager David Vaughn
With the governor’s new orders to begin a limited opening of the state for commerce and after having spoken with a number of local business owners over the past few weeks regarding the Burnet Economic Development Corporation’s bridge loan program, we know that, in many cases, the governor’s actions come as a relief. To others, it may give us a bit of uncertainty.
The city of Burnet is committed to using the governor’s orders as our guide for local actions, and we are steadfast in our desire to keep our community as safe as possible. Continued use of social distancing and protective gear such as face masks and gloves are instrumental in our fight against this very dangerous virus.
It is more important now than ever before that we do not allow financial pressures to put the health and safety of not just yourselves but the public at risk. We hope every citizen and every business owner takes the health and safety of themselves, their families, friends, employees, and patrons as their first and foremost responsibility.
This is particularly hard on our small-business owners as their very livelihood is profoundly affected. It is inevitable that some, if not most, business owners will have a sick employee, who may or may not have COVID-19. As you have probably seen, the mere rumors of infection that get started on social media can be devastating to a business, especially as we are on the verge of reopening the economy.
However, even a single positive diagnosis can be devastating for a small business. In the event an employee of a particular business gets diagnosed with COVID-19, that business may be required to quarantine every employee for 14 days, essentially shutting them down for that period of time, which is why the city is being proactive in helping business owners take preventative steps to help stop the spread of the disease.
While there are likely to continue to be businesses that get a positive diagnosis regardless of what steps they take, many of the business owners we have spoken with understand the need to be able to communicate to the public that they are doing everything they can to help keep their customers and employees as safe as possible. A business that is able to communicate that they are being proactive is likely to bounce back more quickly than one that is not taking proactive steps to protect public health.
We know of at least one large fast food business that has been requiring their employees to wear masks for several weeks. While we are sure it is hot and uncomfortable, we have heard several people say that they are going there more often because of the clear message the business is sending.
To say these are difficult times seems like an understatement, but working together, we will get through this. We just all have to do our part.